Sunday, June 30, 2013

Must Have Tips For Taking Great Selfies

Hello everyone!  Seeing selfies flood social media and being guilty of snapping a few myself I sometimes wonder if everyone is as crazy as me with doing things a certain way to have them come out just right. So I decided to reach out to some fellow bloggers to see what their tips are for getting that perfect selfie.

 Marquis from Simply Clarke had this to say: " I make different faces and tilt my head in different ways to get the optimal results from all angles. By the end, I normally have about 10 different selfies to chose from. What can I say, I like practicing my modeling skills."

Michelle from The Nurse Mommy Blog had this important piece of advice, I hope everyone adheres to: " My biggest tip for selfies, if you're going to take one in the bathroom, clean the countertop and PLEASE close the TOILET! We don't want to see it!"

  Kassie from Going Green With the Grizls had a great tip:  "One tip I picked up on when I was younger is that if you aren't comfortable in a photo, it will show all over your face. Instead of trying to hold the perfect smile, or angle or whatever other people were doing to look "pretty", I just be myself and usually when I'm not concerned with how I look, I get some of the best photos. =)"

Dianna from Savings In Seconds had these two tips "My tip is to always go chin-up.  No one needs to see that double (triple) chin of mine, self-portrait or not!" and  "the crop feature is your friend." She even used her second tip and cropped her head out.

Alyca from A Table For Five said this: "My tip is to use the front camera on your cell phone so that you and your baby can see yourselves and then smile like a maniac in an effort to get the baby to smile too. See my daughter in the background? She's got it down."

Alyca also had advice for solo selfies: "As for taking a picture of myself solo, I only do that on the rare occasion that I have found the time to shower and fix my hair. I suggest making sure your huge pile of laundry is not in the background. I {unfortunately} have posted pictures to Facebook before realizing that my baby is photo bombing me wearing no diaper!"

My tip for taking selfies indoors is to be facing a window.  Make sure you pull up the blinds or pull back the curtains.  Looking into the light can make your eyes look really cool and vibrant.  I try to always do this to give myself, what I call,  "vampire eyes."

I hope you enjoyed reading through our pieces of advice.  I would love to hear your tips and rituals for taking selfies. Please share!

 photo dancinsig.png

Friday, June 28, 2013

Being Your Own Boss Is Not All Rainbows and Butterflies

Does being self employed have it's perks? You bet but it's not as easy as some may think.  And those who are self employed and actually make money, actually work.  We don't just sit around and watch TV all day, although that's what many seem to think.  Most of the time when I say I am self-employed, a freelancer or my own boss, I get a look from people like "oh so you don't have a job" or I get an enthusiastic response of "you're so lucky!" Am I lucky? Heck yes! But being self employed has it's own obstacles and difficulties.

You need to be disciplined, I mean really disciplined.  You have to get work done with all the distractions in your home.  Whether it be doing the dishes that piled up or the fact that the awesome book you just bought is sitting on the coffee table.  And one of the biggest distractions nowadays is social media. Since a lot of my work is on the computer it is hard not to navigate to Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to take a quick break which could possibly turn into hours of personal enjoyment. This is a hard one for me because a lot of what I have to do is social media marketing so I need to make sure to stick to specific tasks when heading to those sites. And there's always the temptation to go shopping, go to the beach, go to a friend's, etc. and there is nobody telling you not to. You must keep your eye on the prize!

You do it all, at least until you are established enough to hire employees or an assistant.  When your computer or printer isn't working or a particular computer program or website isn't working as it should there is no IT department to call to fix your headache.  You need to figure it out yourself or spend hours on the phone with different customer service centers.  Not fun and you need to make up for the hours you spent dealing with this technological problem.  When there's a complaint you cannot just pass it along to your boss. You need to deal with the client and think of a solution that keeps both parties, especially the client, happy.  Thankfully, this happens very rarely for me so I don't lose that much time doing this but it's a headache when it does happen. One thing you will learn when in business for yourself or not even being in business for yourself, as good as your service or product is there is always a handful of people that will have something to complain about. The self employed wear many hats and need to be good at all positions.

I am always on call.  I could have worked all day but due to the nature of everything I do I get many emails and calls in the evening and on the weekends. Some have the attitude that they work Monday-Friday 9-5 or whatever hours they establish for themselves and if they get an inquiry out of those hours it can wait until the next day.  I get it, I do but it's so competitive you could lose the gig because you replied the next day when someone else replied immediately.  I know if someone really wants you they will wait for your response but then there are people who don't know what they want, contact several vendors and sometimes their decision just comes down to who got back to them first. I was guilty of that with my wedding.  I contacted a few photography vendors and loved all of their work but I went with the one that I spoke with first. Some others finally contacted me and everything sounded great but I already booked with who got back to me the fastest.  This is why I choose to answer emails, messages, phone calls during my "off hours."  That being said, I completely understand why some people don't choose to do so.

And here is the BIG difficulty and this doesn't apply to everyone who works from home but I know it applies to many women. One of the main reasons I wanted to be able to work from home was that when I had children I could stay home with them.  Well, my daughter is now a toddler and already seems to be in her "terrible twos" stage even though she is only 17 months. She is into everything and has an attitude when she isn't getting my constant attention. It's hard to get work done while chasing and entertaining a toddler.  Because of this I often need to wait until my hubby gets home to start my work which means I am often up until 2am getting stuff done and then need to be up at 7am with my daughter and the cycle starts all over again. It's exhausting!!!

I am not trying to throw a pity party but I just want people to know that the self employed DO work.  Am I grateful to work from home? Absolutely! I worked extremely hard to get myself to this point. I had a full time job with a printing company for many years while I busted my booty building my other businesses.  Because working from home certainly has it's perks: I get to be with my daughter, I can work in my pajamas while doing office stuff such as returning emails and doing online marketing, you don't have anyone keeping tabs on you whether you were late, left early or took a long lunch, I can make doctors appointments during their regular business hours, not have to take off to go to the DMV, I can decide to go to the beach during the day if I choose to stay up late finishing work and so on. So I wouldn't change a thing except the perception that some people have about us work at home individuals.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Things I Don't Love

It's that time of week! Time to share something I don't love and at the moment that particular thing is swans!! I used to love swans because they are so pretty and majestic but now I realize they are just plain nasty! When we used to go to the park with our dog, every time we got close to the water they would come towards us squawking in a confrontational manner so we always steered clear of them.

 Well today my dislike turned into hate when two swans and their baby approached my daughter ready to attack her innocently sitting on our beach towel. My daughter and I were at a small private beach and she was playing on her beach towel with her back to them, completely unaware of them. I watched them swim towards us and then get out of the water. No big deal, I thought. We were just minding our business and were originally nowhere near them. They proceeded to approach us and at first I thought they would veer away but one got scarily close to my daughter and raised it's wings and neck, looking ready to attack. I had to swoop my daughter up and yell at the swans until they went back into the water.

 Swans are just nasty creatures and I definitely don't love them. What about you? Have you ever had a confrontation with a swan?

My daughter minding her business

Here they come. On a mission!

Too close for comfort

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Girl Booklet's June Sponsor Giveaway

 I am happy to say that my Etsy shop, Lollipop Swirlz is a sponsor of Girl Booklet's June Giveaway. You can win $35 to Nordstrom, $15 to Target, Ad Space and a mug! What a fun prize pack! You can enter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And here's a look at the people that made this happen:


Making My Job Easy

Happy Hump Day! I hope you are having a great Wednesday.  I had the pleasure of photographing cutie, Dean, today for his 1st birthday cake smash photos. Whenever I do a cake smash session I customize a backdrop that can be destroyed. Together with the parents I decided what colors we are going to use for the backdrop and cake.  Sometimes, especially with little boys I feel it is a little limited that the choice is usually blue or green or a combination of the two.  Don't get me wrong I love doing blue and green backdrops for little boys but I always love to be able to do something a little different. 

So I was thrilled when Dean's mother came up with the idea of doing a patriotic color scheme of red, white and blue. This is especially fitting this time of year.  Not only did she come up with a great theme she picked up some great props. She got some red, white and blue balloons, a wooden frame for me to do photo effect shown below and fabulous letters spelling "ONE."  Along with my backdrop and cake, I think we came up with some great images!! Here are just a few. What do you think?

I hope you enjoyed the cuteness as much as me. The good news...I get to do it all over again tomorrow with another little boy! It's a tough job but someone's got to do it!

P.S. The winner of the Keeping Cool In The Sun Giveaway is Lauren H. who was notified by email.

Monday, June 24, 2013

New and Improved and Ready to Rock!

Ahhh!! I cannot contain my excitement about my new blog design!! Janie with Fortune Favors did a fabulous job and I would highly recommend her. There are several improvements to my blog besides the new design. I added an "About Me" with some of the basic info about me and you can now sponsor my blog!  This is great for other bloggers, Etsy shops or anyone who has something to promote. Not only will you be featured on my sidebar but you will get much social media love! I also added a section for "Social Media Marketing." All the details are yet to come on this service but you can email me with any inquiries at this time.

Besides all my normal posts I have some new regular posts that will be coming your way. This will include "Makeup Mondays" where I will feature cosmetic product reviews  or makeup how-tos. It will also include "Long Island Love" posts where I will feature activities and things to do on Long Island.  I am also looking into getting a few guest bloggers to be featured periodically to give my followers a good variety of material to read.

Thanks for checking out the new and improved blog and stay tuned for some great posts coming your way! I have some fabulous reviews heading your way and an amazing experience to share once I am allowed to give out the info.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up

I've been slacking a little with the posts the past few days but we are so consumed with our upcoming move that every free moment has been spent cleaning and packing. Besides packing I had an opportunity to add a few new items to my Etsy shop, Hole In Her Stocking Designs. I haven't really written much about this shop of mine but I like to think of it as what's trendy and in style and what I would wear. Below are a few photos from my new Dainty Cross Collection.

Now I am involved in a few giveaways at the moment so I wanted to remind you all to enter for your chance at some great prizes!!  First their is my Create Your Own Tutu Giveaway. If you win you get to chose the colors for your tutu. You can design one for yourself, your daughter or to give as a gift.

There is still two days to check out the Keeping Cool In the Sun Giveaway Hop. Be sure to enter my giveaway and check out all the other amazing giveaways taking place!

Lastly, I am thrilled to be featured on Girl Booklet.  Go check out her awesome blog and feature on me!! There is also a giveaway going on where you can win an awesome neon friendship bracelet with chain and a custom pair of earring. As of right now there is low entries so go check it out for some great odds on winning!

Win this!

Well, I hope you had a great weekend and I would love to hear what you did.  Comments welcomed!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Patriotic Cuteness Photo Post

Hi everyone!! Hope you are having a great Friday! I have so many great posts up my sleeve along with the unveiling of my new blog design but I cannot release certain info and experiences until a later date. No worries, that date is fast approaching. So I decided to share some photos I took of my daughter Olivia modeling one of my patriotic tutu designs for Oh So Pretty Designs

Isn't she the cutest! It's hard for me to get great photos of her because she is at the age where staying still isn't an option but I still love the candidness  of these photos.  I also got one of my all time photos this particular day. Check it out below!  And you can always see more of my photographic work on my Jenny O Studios Facebook Page.

One of my all time favorite photos!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hurts So Good....Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Insoles

My Sis and I were both lucky enough to try these insoles!

I had an opportunity to try Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Insoles for free thanks to my second campaign with BzzAgent. I was pumped to give these bad boys a try because I LOVE to walk. Plus, I do some 12 hour shifts at a vet I work at part time.  So anything that will make my feet feel comfortable is welcome!

I wanted to love these I really did but felt slightly disappointed. I hate to share bad news but my readers deserve to know the truth. I wore them for the first time for my 12 hour shift at work.  When I first put them on it felt like I was wearing a pair of snug shoes for the first time and my feet ached. As the day went on the aching went away but I didn't feel any "massaging." But as the day was coming to an end my feet were starting to hurt once again.  I then wore them for my 3 mile walk workout the following day and my feet hurt and more of the same when I wore them to the gym the day after that.

But I didn't give up. I wore them to run some errands a few days later and my feet actually felt pretty good.  I didn't know if was just because I was wearing them for a shorter time but I was starting to feel a bit optimistic. I decided to give them another try at work and finally some relief. My feet felt good after my long day! I just wore them for my walk and again no aches and pains. There was a light at the end of the tunnel!

I am now happy with how these Massaging Gels make my feet feel but I just wish I didn't need to go through days of achy feet to get to this point.  I guess they just needed to be worn in.  If you are willing to tough it out for a few days I would definitely give these insoles a shot! Check out Dr. Scholl's for more info and to get your pair today!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Operation Makeover

I am sure I am not alone in the fact that my idea of getting dressed in the morning,  ever since I had a baby,  is throwing on black yoga pants and a t-shirt. Hair thrown up in a messy bun or ponytail and no makeup. I am pretty much a hot mess on a regular basis.  It's honestly starting to make me depressed. I don't want to go out because I have nothing to wear or I feel nothing looks good on me  and I am ready to make a change.

The big problem is that I have gained a lot of weight over the past 5 years. A good 50-60 pounds. So I feel that nothing looks good on me so I just wear whatever I feel can mask my fatness. I used to dress so cute and trendy and I really am missing those days. I used to always be out doing things  and looking cute while doing them but now I just feel like a blob. Don't get me wrong, I am not morbidly obese or anything but I know what it feels like to be fit and cute and I miss those days. I am going to get them back.

How did I let myself gain all that weight you may ask? Well, it was gradual over a few years. First I suffered the loss of my best friend and grandma and coped with my grief by eating. Then , I had a bad back injury so I could no longer workout 6 days as week like I used to.  Then I got pregnant and after having the baby there really wasn't any time to go to the gym. So little by lttle the pounds packed on.

Well, my birthday is in 6 weeks so my goal is to lose at least 20 pounds by then.  I ultimately hope to lose double that but I'll take 20 to start.  Then I am going to ask for a new wardrobe for my birthday. Hopefully being 20 pounds lighter clothing will look a little better on me. Then, I want to do something drastic with my hair. I am thinking about cutting it so it's about shoulder length once it's dry and curly. I also want to go platinum blonde. Drastic I know but I need drastic change.

I will touch base with you all at about the 3 week mark and let you know how I am doing with getting towards my weight loss goal. And of course there will be a big post for my birthday featuring my big makeover!

Thin and fit at my wedding
Me now. Ugh!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Etsy Sellers Beware

I was having a good day until I got a message from a fellow Etsy seller this evening with some disturbing news.  She told me that another seller was using using other shop's photos and listing for half price. My photos were among those stolen. So now when someone searches for a "hot pink tutu" they will see two tutus identical in photos but one for half the cost.

Problem is the buyer will undoubtedly go with the less expensive choice but won't get item photographed. This seller can try to duplicate my item but it will not be the same especially for price listed. There's no way because my products are reasonably priced and this seller is offering free shipping. There is no profit for this seller to make. So one of two things is happening. Customer is getting an inferior item unlike one in stolen photograph. Or since this seller made over 60 sales in two days they are never planning on sending any products and just stealing the money.

Not to mention how can you put out a quality product with so many sales in a day without a long turnaround time. I am beyond frustrated because I take pride in my products and now there is someone out there ruining it for us all. I reported this shop to Etsy and I hope they will be shut down promptly before more buyers are duped and good shop owners lose deserved business.

So I learned a very important lesson. You must put a watermark or your shop's name somewhere on your photo. I opted for right across the tutu because you can still see the item but it cannot be cropped out by those who make a habit of stealing intellectual property. Hopefully this should stop all my photos from being stolen in the future. It's just a shame we have to do this because a select few cannot respect others intellectual and artistic property. Please protect your shops and edit all of your photos so nobody can steal your images, take it from someone who said: "It will never happen to me."

Before and After

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Things I Don't Love

I have a lot to be thankful for and I love my life but I love the idea of having one day to gripe about the things I don't love. That's why I decided to join in on Lulu and Sweet Pea's "What I Don't Love Thursday."

Here I go:

* I hate the fact that we will need to wait until 2014 for the next season of Game of Thrones!! This is torture. I am going out to get the books so I don't need to wait. The suspense is killing me!

* I am upset at the fact my daughter refuses to fall asleep until around 2am every night lately. She slept so good right from the beginning and now at 16 months we are having huge sleeping issues with her. We've tried every tactic for fixing this issue and don't know what to do. Anyone else have this issue with their toddler?!

* I definitely don't love packing!! We are moving out of our apartment into a new home and it is stressful to say the least! My hubby and I are so busy with work and have a very rambunctious toddler so we have limited time to get our place all packed up. I'm sure we'll get it done but I cannot wait until this whole process is over with.

Now that I got all that off my chest I hope everyone has a terrific Thursday and has very little things not to love.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Keeping Cool In the Sun Giveaway Hop

Summer is HERE! I'm parternering with the Blogging Mamas Network on their latest Event to help you Keep Cool in the Sun! We've come together with a great group of bloggers who have a ton of prizes to help celebrate the Summer season and give you the chance to win!

I am giving one lucky winner the opportunity to design there own jewelry set!! Matching earrings, necklace and bracelet. I have some fun summer colors so the possibilities are endless to create some awesome beachwear.  Check out my Etsy shop, Lollipop Swirlz to see just a handful of my clay creations. The photo below shows a set a created to specifically match a dress I bought.

Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

After you've entered my giveaway, don't forget to hop around to all the others in the linky below.  Be sure to enter to win the GRAND PRIZES for this Event too!  You have a chance to win...
In the KIDS package you could win:  a pair of Julbo USA looping sunglasses for baby, a trio of TruKids products including Sunny Days sunscreen and Hero Stick, a Hearthsong Camping Tent {chair not included}, a Swim Diaper from Red Barn Cloth Diapers, and a reusable snack tube SqueeZurts Starter Kit!


A second prize package including a $100 Gift Certificate to Claudia Alan Eyewear and Winner's Choice of any item from UV Skinz - makers of protective sunwear!

And be sure to check out all these other amazing giveaways!!!

  According to Jenny, So Easy Being Green, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Keeping Cool in the Sun participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up

I think I've lost my mind...

I am officially pooped and a little delirious. What a weekend! No relaxation here, that's for sure. I was very busy with my photography business this weekend and I am extremely grateful for that but also exhausted.

Saturday, I photographed a 1st Birthday party for an adorable little boy. They had a golf theme which I haven't seen done for a kiddie party before. It was really cool because they actually rented a mini golf course for the backyard. So awesome! I want that for my birthday party! Haha. After chasing little kiddies around for hours to get great party shots, I had to run home to get ready for my brother in laws birthday barbecue. Had a great time but having to then chase my toddler around I got kinda pooped real quick.

Sunday, I had to get up early to hit up the bakery to get a cake for this afternoon's 1st birthday cake smash photosession. Before that I had to got do portraits of a little boy in his Christening outfit. then drove home, switched out the props in my car. Had a little break, then it was time to go do that cake smash photosession. Now, I am home editing tons of photos and taking silly selfies and seen above.

The hubby should be home with some Italian takeout soon so I think I shall take a break eat and watch some TV while waiting for Game of Thrones season finale tonight. Can someone please kill Joffrey??!! Please!! Well I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend as well!! xo

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Chasing Butterflies

Today I took photographs of one of my best friend's son for his 3rd birthday. As we were exploring the Bayard Cutting Arboretum there was a lone butterfly fluttering about. Logan chased it and it was almost like the butterfly was playing along. It stayed within reach for Logan to chase but far enough away to not be caught. I was lucky enough to capture this moment. Here is one of the photos with a fitting quote I found.

Another image I had to share

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sole Viewer of Ready For Love?!

OMG Tim OMG!!! Really? Jenna...Really?! This is what I was thinking when Tim chose Jenna on the season finale of Ready For Love. But after a little more research I learned that my initial reaction may have been very wrong. Explanation to come.

So was I really one of the only ones that watched Ready For Love? ? I actually enjoyed this show and I liked the idea of the matchmakers helping both the guys and girls along on their journey. I have actually never seen The Bachelor or The Bachelorette but I couldn't imagine this being any worse than that so I was shocked when NBC pulled the plug on the show after only two episodes. But I religiously watched each week as it was put up on NBC on demand.

I actually am kind of shocked I liked the show so much because I couldn't stand most of the girls on the show.  So many self absorbed, annoying Barbies it was highly irritating and maybe I wasn't the only one who thought this and that is why the show did so poorly.  But I liked Tim and Ben. I could have done without Ernesto who seemed so in love with himself it was no wonder he never said " I love you" to anyone. But the other two were endearing.  I also liked all three matchmaker. Each had a different matchmaking style so I thought that brought something great to the show. And Bill and Giuliana Rancic were decent hosts.

This post would go on forever if I gave my thoughts on the entire show but here are some of my thoughts on each final match. We'll start with Ernesto since couldn't really stand him or any of his girls.  He choose Shandi the episode before the finale. Woohoo (sarcasm here)! They were perfect for each other both self absorbed and completely fake.I felt like throughout the whole season I barely learned a thing about Shandi except she was Miss USA. Who cares!

Next we'll go to Ben. I liked him throughout the season but I didn't really like any of the girls chosen for him. Angela did finally grow on me towards the end of the season and I was surprised and ecstatic when he chose her. And I was over the moon with the fact he proposed and how he did it. He's such a romantic! I really wanted to stand up and cheer with this outcome.

Finally here's the difficult one, Tim. I actually loved two of the girls chosen for him. Sarah and Hailey.  Hailey was actually my favorite on the whole show. The matchmakers gave her a hard time about her humor but she was the most relatable on the show. She seemed like someone you would want to hang out with and I was rooting for her the whole time.  It really annoyed me when the matchmakers got on her case because she was one of the only ones who didn't seem like she was putting on an act. I was disappointed when Tim let her go the week before the finale but I knew it was coming.

I thought he would pick Sarah who seemed like she would be a good match as far as a long term relationship. She seemed grounded and loyal.  Jenna seemed more like the girl who would be a fun fling but it would sizzle out so I was shocked and annoyed when Tim chose her and it made me think he wasn't looking for love just a hot girl to have fun with.

After the finale I was dying to know if these couples were still together since it was filmed almost a year ago.  Lo and behold,  the only couple that was still together is Jenna and Tim!! Total shocker!! It didn't surprise me that Ernesto and Shandi were not together because they could only truly love themselves but I was devastated to learn that Ben and Angela were no longer together. I am dying to know what happened.

So I have to admit I was wrong about Jenna. Apparently, her and Tim were a great match and she was in it for the long haul. After thinking about it I guess i can see why he chose Jenna. Sarah was a wonderful person but I can see where she might have seemed to motherly and too perfect. He might have felt that he would always have to live up to that where he can be himself with Jenna. So I now get it, Tim. I truly wish them the best!!

I am dying to know if anyone else watched and what you thought!!!!